3 Simple brunch dishes

Savory bread pudding made with cornbread. (December 2013) Savory bread pudding made with cornbread. (December 2013) Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition. ...

TIP These dishes may all be prepared in advance; the bread pudding and breakfast casserole may be assembled the night before and cooked before serving; the banana bread may be fully baked ahead.

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BACON-AND-CHEESE CORNBREAD PUDDING

3 large eggs, divided

3 cups milk, divided

1 (8.5-ounce) box cornbread mix

6 pieces bacon

2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray.

2. Lightly beat 1 egg with 1 cup of milk; stir in the cornbread mix and let stand 5 minutes to allow some (not all) of the lumps to dissolve. Transfer to the pie dish and bake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and allow cornbread to cool. When cool, cut in 1-inch pieces.

3. Cook the bacon; drain on paper towel and crumble.

4. Beat the remaining 2 eggs with a fork; stir in the remaining 2 cups of milk and the cheese. Add the cornbread, bacon and scallions; allow to stand 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cornbread becomes soggy.

5. Wipe out the pie dish and again coat with cooking spray. Pour the bread pudding mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the center is just set and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into wedges to serve. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 307 calories, 15 g fat, 6.4 g saturated fat, 17 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 779 mg sodium

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BROWN SUGAR BANANA BREAD

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2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons room-temperature butter

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 softened bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl; set aside.

3. Beat sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until well-blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions. Add the buttermilk and vanilla; beat until well-blended. Beat in the bananas. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until just evenly blended.

4. Transfer to the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of the oven 1 hour, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes, remove bread from pan and cool on a wire rack. Makes 10 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 247 calories, 6 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 5 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 245 mg sodium

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SAUSAGE, POTATO AND EGG BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

1 pound uncooked (sweet or hot) Italian turkey sausage

1 cup chopped onion

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 (12-ounce) bag frozen shredded potatoes

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk

2 cups reduced-fat shredded Cheddar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Squeeze sausages out of casings and into a large skillet; place over medium high and stir in onions and green pepper. Cook, stirring to break sausages up into crumbles; stir in potatoes. Cook, stirring, until sausage is no longer pink and potatoes are lightly browned, about 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking dish.

3. Whisk the eggs and milk together; stir in the cheese, potatoes and sausage mixture. Transfer to the baking dish and bake in the center of the oven until the center is set and the top golden brown, about 35 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 361 calories, 18 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 33 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 909 mg sodium

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